(Guest contributor Susan Grunder is back, with a beautiful reflection that invites us to think about our dependencies and about God. So perfect for this point in Lent.) This morning I found myself in a semi-dark kitchen grinding coffee beans. I hate having to grind the beans in the morning (my apologies to all of coffee purists who might be reading). But not having my half-caf in the morning would certainly be worse—for me and for all those around me. This is a first world problem, I know. I have the luxury of fresh coffee beans, clean running water, electricity to light the pre-dawn darkness of my cozy kitchen, and the time to reflect on my coffee addiction.
As a younger woman, coffee wasn’t my drug. I was a Diet Coke girl. In college I could roll out of bed, grab a “DC” and head to class. I’m pretty sure that if I had cut myself during my young adult years, I might have Continue reading
This is a very short post, but it is meant to be very clear on this St. Patrick’s Day. I am not a big St. Patrick’s Day reveler though half-Irish I might be. My mother was so proud of her Irish roots, but I must admit that I typically (insert shame-face emoji here) have almost always felt a real disconnect with my own. It is much easier for me to identify with my other ancestors, those fiery, passionate, intense Italians and Jews. Now *that* I get!
Having said that, I have rarely felt as moved by the imagery of St. Patrick as I was with every word I read in a new book called “A Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick” by Jamie Arpin-Ricci from Paraclete Press.
Let me be clear about something before I begin – I have known Continue reading
Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Lent – a day meant for rejoicing. Not unlike King Cyrus declaring the return to Jerusalem to our beleaguered Jewish ancestors during the Babylonian exile, Pope Francis brings us news to make Laetare Sunday especially joyful this year!
From America Magazine:
“In a surprising and far-reaching decision, Pope Francis has announced an extraordinary “Jubilee of Mercy” that will extend from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016, and will involve the Catholic Church throughout the world.”
As we pass the midpoint of Lent we are encouraged to Continue reading
Whoops… once again days go by before I post. Where do I begin? Not that I think that everyone (or anyone!) is hanging on my every word, but I do like to be faithful to this little blog and blogging community. There are many times a lack of posting indicates that I am in the midst of some busy-making, which in all honesty, I dislike. That said, I have my day job, and I do a bunch of other things on the side. Aside from needing the extra cash, I am given the gift of doing things that I really love.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I love about my day job, but the things I really love… teaching, public speaking, directing retreats, and even my marketing consulting get my blood flowing. It is all ministry oriented work, which is a great privilege. (For the record, I seriously dislike the use of the word “busy” as some red badge of courage!)
That said, I do find that Continue reading
Another day in Lent, another Gospel challenge. Today – underachieving by design! Yes, you are thinking, “what is she on about now?” You know me, sometimes I like to kid – even, perhaps especially, during Lent.
Achievement. Our world seems pretty much built around it. I worked in the media business for 27 years. My first job was as what was then called (does it even exist now?) “sales assistant.” What did I do? I was a glorified secretary, working for a salesperson. In 1980, this was more likely a man than a woman. If you did your job really well, you would be promoted to – wow, I can’t even remember the title. In was the over-glorified secretary I guess, because you worked for the sales manager, and you supervised the other sales assistants. Yes, I did get this job and I was an incredible disaster at it. At that age I did not have a clue about servant leadership, or that such a thing existed – I was just not ready for any of it.
Today’s Gospel is very clear, if you seek greatness, be willing to serve, not lord your greatness over people. In this passage from Matthew, the mother of the sons of Zebedee approaches Jesus and Continue reading
This Sunday we hear about Abraham and Isaac in the first reading from Genesis. (Readings here.) This is a really tough one, even though we know the outcome.
By contrast, today, on Saturday, we hear about obedience, following God’s laws, statutes, and commands. (Readings here.) Today’s Gospel is very clear, we are compelled to love our enemies.
Sacrifice our children and love our enemies. No wonder we are challenged by our faith. How can we make sense of any of this? It is thoroughly confusing and confounding. Yet here we are, trying to make sense of it. We see that Isaac is spared, but we know that Jesus is not. As a result of Jesus not being spared, we are free. Given this, is Continue reading
Ash Wednesday was one week ago. How is it going? Did you start out Lent with the best of intentions?
Last Sunday we heard about God’s covenant with us. In the Psalm, we cry out to the Lord to teach us his paths. To remember us. In the Gospel, we see Jesus driven by the Spirit into the desert. Jesus doesn’t lead the Spirit into the desert. The Spirit drives him. Where is the Spirit driving us this Lent?
Sometimes we look at Lent as a chance to reboot our New Year’s Resolutions. We just change the names to fit the traditional “Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.” We might call it fasting, but, let’s be honest, we are really hoping to lose some weight while we are at it. We might set aside time for prayer so we can check that box or mark it off of our daily Lenten to-do-list, but are we really engaged in our prayer? Are we opening ourselves up for the activity of the Holy Spirit? For Inspiration in the true sense of word? Are we pausing for a moment to allow Continue reading